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King challenges U21s to notch win

Ireland Under-21s manager Noel King has challenged his players to drag themselves back into the race for European Championship qualification with victory in Liechtenstein.

King felt his team were unfortunate to lose 1-0 in Turkey last month, a result which helped the home side go six points clear at the top of Group Seven after a 2-1 victory over Hungary on Saturday.

Ireland, like second-placed Italy, have played two games fewer, and King said: "If we are serious about qualifying then we have to go out and perform in games like this."

He added: "We need to keep pressure on the top spot. We were unfortunate in Turkey last month, but the performance tells me we are in with a shout of doing well against them at home. They are on top with four wins from four so far.

"The biggest challenge may be the conditions for us on Tuesday. It's been snowing and the temperature has gone down to minus two. We will have to cope with that."

King saw Liechtenstein lose 7-2 to the Italians at home last week - indeed, they have shipped 13 goals in their three games to date - but he is expecting a difficult game nonetheless.

He said: "I'm expecting a tough test after watching Liechtenstein against Italy on Friday night.

"They will also have four players who missed the Italy game in their squad as they were kept back for the (senior) game against Scotland on Saturday."

King's squad includes, for the first time, Bradford striker Terry Dixon, who has enjoyed a successful loan spell at Halifax in recent weeks, while fit-again Manchester City defender Greg Cunningham, who has been capped at senior level by Giovanni Trapattoni, is also at the manager's disposal.


From Belfast Telegraph